Depressing or what? - Printable Version
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- tomstevenson - 08-01-2000 02:01 PM
How depressing that no one has made a post on Pacific Northwest wines since March. That's right, March! Don't you guys like these wines? Does it take a Brit to drum up a little enthusiasm? What's up, Bucko? Washington is your home state: are you asleep? The most exciting wines I've had from the great winemaking regions of the northwest over the last year have all been from Argyle in Dundee, Oregon. Here's a sneak preview from my annual fizz guide due out in October (I won't name it because I'm trying to promote the wines, not the book):
My scores are in <> and it should be noted that I tend to mark much, much lower than US critics.
Argyle 1996 Brut
If not for the 1995, this light, ripe, elegant sparkling wine would be Argyle's best ever vintage. The fruit is elevated, making it very yummy, but detracting from the standard set by the 1995.
Argyle 1995 Knudsen Vineyard Brut
Argyle 1988 Extended Tirage
The re-release of this old vintage is disgorged on demand (stated on front label), but the sample I tasted had a further 12 months post-disgorgement ageing and I have to admit that I was amazed. I tasted this and the 1989 at the winery a year ago it was nothing special, although not as bad as the 1989, which I could not get past my nose. I still cannot get the 1989 past my nose, but the 1988 has aged beautifully over the last year. The wine is now dominated by Chardonnay, which represents only 30% of the blend, but packs a peachy punch of fruit on both the nose and the palate.
Argyle 1996 Knudsen Vineyard Brut
Although not quite so elevated as it is in Argyle's basic 1996 vintage, there is a noticeable touch of VA-lifted fruit, which detracts from the class of this otherwise fresh and delicious sparkling wine.
Argyle 1995 Brut
This exceptional sparkling wine is still extremely fresh with very slow development of post-disgorgement aromas since it was released 18 months ago.
Argyle, Knudsen Vineyard 1996 Julia Lee's Block, Blanc de Blancs
Barrique aromas add to this wine's complexity, giving it the edge over the classic Brut Knudsen Vineyard.
- Bucko - 08-01-2000 06:50 PM
<stretch> <yawn> Huh? What?
Argyle!? Tom, Tom, Tom......
- chittychattykathy - 08-02-2000 12:24 AM
Thanks for bringing this up! I would love to support the great NW by mentioning some local wines that I've enjoyed in the last few weeks. (With my very, very short notes as I am doing this from memory and quickly.)
Portteus Cabernet Sauv. 1996, Washington; Full bodied and very complex, a bargin at $26.
Apex Merlot 1996,Washington; Attractive nose, a bit of smoke, and a fabulously long finish
Barnard Griffen Merlot Hells Canyon 1997 (I think this is in Idaho); Balanced & smooth, nice hints o' chocolate on the finish, yum. just about sizes it up the best!
King Estate Pinot Gris, Reserve 1997 Oregon:; lovly flavors of Anise and Walnuts
Owen-Sullivan Semillon, Washington; Creamy, textured, great fruit, it's everything a Semillon should be. The Cab is attractive as well.
Another great Oregon wine; There is a wine shop in Cannon Beach called Laurel's (sp), the owner, Laurel, creates a fantastic Pinot Noir on the side each year. & Every year it just gets better and better.
Tom, I am curious if you have tried the Alexia sparkling wine from Washington?
- tomstevenson - 08-02-2000 02:04 AM
Hi ChittyChattyKathy (I know a few of those!) I particularly love Washington Hills Apex. Also the Apex Cab and most vintages the Apex Chard. Yes CCK, I've tasted Alexia. I've even got some in my cellar here back in GB. I've tasted the Brut and the Blanc de Noirs from both the 1996 and 1997 vintages. I recommended all bar the 1997 Brut in last year's Guide. The Blanc de Noirs seems to be the most successful style (I like the way that true strawberry PN comes through the wine's classic lean structure) and the 1997 Blanc de Noirs is the best of all. Although the best cuvees from Domaine Ste Michelle are nowhere near the same class, they have recently started to match the sort of quality this winery churned out in the late-1970s. What with this, Gordy Rawson's Alexia and even little ol' Tefft producing a quaffing sparkling Meunier, the pressure is on Mountain Dome, and the result can only be good for all of these producers, not to mention consumers.
All this talk of fizz has probably sent Bucko off to sleep again!
- winoweenie - 08-02-2000 09:50 AM
Bucko, Is Tom going mad in the rain over there in GB? I`ve never heard of a disgorged Pinot Noir. Winoweenie
- tomstevenson - 08-02-2000 10:40 AM
Don't wake Bucko up winoweenie, he's dreaming of much nicer things. Meanwhile, here in sleepy old GB, amid the "dreaming spires" of Oxford the sun is shining and has been for the last 10 days. Where'd I say disgorged Pinot Noir, which is possible, but I'd just like to know where I said it.
- Innkeeper - 08-02-2000 01:13 PM
This is a very good thread, with lots of pertinent information. Something that Tom might have missed is that there has been lots of information about Northwest Wines on the Wine Board recently. It's been on the Varietal threads, Novice, Best Buys, Wines of Other Categories, Wine Country Touring, etc.
Y'all might notice that there is no California thread. The Northwest is now where California was in 1980, when it needed no thread. Get my drift?
- tomstevenson - 08-02-2000 01:40 PM
Got your drift Innkeeper. Should have surfed around a bit more, but don't have the time. Actually my recent activity on the Board has only been possible because the builders renovating the top floor (4 floors in all) are in the 9th week of their 5-week schedule. I've done my deadlines, done all the odd jobs around the house and need to get away for a break, but daren't leave the house in their hands, so I have nothing better to do and you Board regulars have had to put up with me poking my nose in ... but obviously not poking it in the right place. That reminds me, did you know that Clinton's cat is called Brandy? Apparently it's the only pussy that Hilary will let him stroke. I definitely need a break!
- Innkeeper - 08-02-2000 03:17 PM
Love it. Having gone through two major renovations in the last two years, don't envy you Tom. Mrs IK's potassium levels went way down, and my wine drinking went way up. On the other hand we do envy you. Sounds you have some great digs in our favorite foreign country. Simply delighted to hear that Hillary loves Brandy.
- winoweenie - 08-02-2000 06:07 PM
Tom, I was just being my usual ( silly, stupid, kookie, irreverent, care-free, nonsensical self)((PICK ONE )). Referring to Reds as usual. It`s been a breath of fresh air havin` you as a regular the past few. You get the same informative answers as Randy in 1/2 the typing. Winoweenie
- chittychattykathy - 08-02-2000 11:39 PM
Sadly I come across alot of people that think of those nomes when they hear Mountain Dome, (as that's what they see around hear at most stores) (FYI, for those who have not seen this label, it has cartoonNomes on it) which makes it quite a challange to convince them that the vintage Brut is a nice local sparkler, and worth the $. Then there is the Cuvee, so far not many people are willing to pay $27 for a sparkling wine when they can buy a Champagne for the same price. Good to hear that you enjoy the Alexia as well!
- tomstevenson - 08-03-2000 01:32 AM
If you lived in a dome on a mountain ChittyChattyKathy, you'd end up talking to gnomes. Have you been there? They've got life-sized gnomes in the grounds and each one looks like a member of the family. These are bright and lovely people, but definitely loopy and I've told them so. I've also suggested that they're giving the wrong impression with gnomes, even if they are only on the cheaper non-vintage, but no hope of persuading them otherwise. They'll either be successful their way or go down laughing their gnomelike heads off. By all accounts they broke even 1998/9.
If Mountain Dome's best cuvees (the best so far is the 1997) are too expensive, you can always nip down to Outlook and buy Joel Tefft's Sparkling Pinot Meunier RosÃ© for $14.95.
Wineoweenie and Innkeeper: thanks for the kind words.
- Thomas - 08-03-2000 06:36 AM
Tom, if you get kind words from ww and ik I need to find out how you do it....
Thanks for the NW sparkler update; haven't tasted any; haven't seen any here in NY.
- chittychattykathy - 08-04-2000 12:59 AM
I've been there, my Grandma lives in Mead which is very close to Mt. Spokane as well. It was before I was in the biz though, I should go again. (I did not meet Michael when there.) Thanks for the lead on the Tefft, I'll request a sample, as that's one I've not tried yet.
- tomstevenson - 08-04-2000 01:58 AM
So you know that sitting in the lounge is more like being on the deck of the Starship Enterprise than under anything like a dome! Do go again ChittyChatty and tell them we met in Cyberspace!
- chittychattykathy - 08-04-2000 09:33 AM